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AspIT impresses Japanese scientists:

“That AspIT gets 80% of the young people in jobs is unique. This should be a source of international inspiration.”

AspIT's new department in Greater Copenhagen was recently visited by a group of Japanese scientists from Fukushima University. The group is led by Professor Aoki Mari and every year it looks at interesting educational concepts in different countries. AspIT has been on the group's list more than once. On this occasion, the group of Japanese educational experts was interested in hearing about the basis for the high level of employment achieved by young students suffering from Asperger's syndrome, people who normally have few prospects in the job market.

Professor Aoki Mari knows what she is talking about when it comes to effective educational concepts. Over many years her research at Fukushima University has consisted in travelling around the world studying what works when teaching children and young people across subjects and educational target groups. Aoki Mari recently visited AspIT's new department in Greater Copenhagen together with her colleagues Professor Tani Masayasu, Associate Professor Sugita Masao and Ishikawa Miku.  

“From an international perspective, we are interested in finding out how AspIT distinguishes itself by being an education for young people who are not suited to the educational system in their homeland and subsequently succeeds in getting 80% of them in jobs. This is a very high percentage and we are impressed by it. We are also interested in the fact that AspIT has seen and applied the link between the field of IT and young people suffering from Asperger's syndrome in order not only to create employment for the young people but also to allow them to find jobs that create value for the companies. Thus three parties benefit – the students, the companies and society,” says Professor Aoki Mari.

“The education is very different to what we see elsewhere internationally. There is a high degree of individual adjustment, small classes, subject specialization. And if a student fails in a subject on AspIT, it just means that the student has found out which direction they should not move in – failing is an aid to finding out where their talent lies. This is unique thinking – and something we in Japan can learn a lot from.

“There are several things about AspIT that fascinate us. We know that people suffering from Asperger's syndrome often struggle on the social level but can be extremely strong purely in academic terms in IT. Therefore, it is really great that specific teaching on AspIT also covers social comprehension, communication, sport, etc. – that is, skills that you can use to gain a degree of security and energy in the workplace. We can see that the students make significant progress in the soft values in just three years. It's fantastic," says Professor Aoki Mari.

<i>AspIT was recently visited by educational scientists from Fukushima University in Japan. From left: Ishikawa Miku, Tani Masayasu, Sidsel Lynggaard Sørensen, Aoki Mari and Sugita Masao</i>


“AspIT is in many ways totally different to what we see in other places. For example, the concept that AspIT has of excluding the young people from the conventional system and then including them in the normal labour market is also unique. So too is the idea of focusing on a single subject for six weeks, which perfectly suits the target group, and the long practical period that gives both students and their subsequent employers calm and focus for development is really well done. Compared to our system in Japan, the AspIT model is on the whole extremely fascinating and should inspire many others – not just in Japan, but also around the world.”  

Ole Bay Jensen, Linda Bjerg and Liselotte Bay Jensen were present at the meeting with the group of Japanese scientists. And the host for the day was Sidsel Lynggaard Sørensen, AspIT Greater Copenhagen's department coordinator.

“We're very proud of the praise from these professionals, who have encountered many powerful educational ideas during their research. AspIT has recently been established with our completely new full-scale school in Høje Taastrup for young people suffering from Asperger's syndrome

“We carry strong results with us from the country's other AspIT municipalities, where we help young people to escape permanent early retirement and instead enjoy meaningful lives with jobs and challenges that match their talents and interests, and it is a great pleasure for us that talented scientists from one of the most specialised research universities in the world working in educational concepts chose to visit our new school in Høje Taastrup,” says Sidsel Lynggaard Sørensen.

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